Motion for Stay Denied in Four-Charge Hearing in Stanislaus Superior Court

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By Hannah Adams

MODESTO, CA – Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Dawna Reeves reviewed Ryan Benjamin Handelman’s criminal record here Friday, and then ruled against Handelman’s defense attorney’s motion for a stay of sentence so Handelman could help his mother.

Of the four felony charges that were reviewed during the hearing, two were of arraignment on hearing status while the other two were violation of probation cases. For one of the arraignment cases, Handelman was charged with possessing a firearm after having been convicted of recklessly evading a peace officer.

For both of the arraignments, Handelman’s defense attorney entered not guilty pleas, proposing a disposition in which Handelman served the maximum sentence for the first case while the second case was to be dismissed.

Deputy District Attorney Sara Souza added that the time for the probation violation cases would be served concurrently, and that the sentence for the new case would be set with no credits.

In light of Souza’s and Handelman’s defense attorney’s resolution, Judge Reeves took the time to explain the repercussions to Handelman, specifically that a “no contest” plea has the same power as a “guilty” plea as far as sentencing goes.

Handelman’s defense attorney noted he would be requesting a Cruz waiver on behalf of Handelman.

Reeves outlined the conditions of the ruling, stating that the maximum sentence would be three years of prison time and the three years of parole following that. Upon release, he is prohibited from owning any firearm for life.

If he were to violate any term of his probation, he would be sent back to state prison, and serve an additional year for each violation.

Following the conditions, Reeves also explained each of the financial charges that Handelman faced: a $300 restitution fund and a $40 security fee.

Once she had confirmed that Handelman agreed to the no contest plea by his own accord, she accepted it.

As for the violation cases, Reeves concluded that Handelman was in “woeful violation” of the terms of his probation—as a result, they were each modified and reinstated. Handelman was then sentenced to serve 345 days in the county jail with each case to be served concurrently (at the same time).

Handelman had pre-existing credits for each case (173 days and 172 days, respectively), and so each of those matters were terminated upon the completion of his sentence (which was the day of this hearing).

At the end of the hearing, Reeves agreed to hear Handelman’s defense attorney’s request for a stay.

Handelman’s defense attorney mentioned that Handelman’s mother has severe mobility issues that require a caretaker, a role that Handelman cannot serve if he is to be in custody.

Souza countered with a review of Handelman’s criminal record, citing two instances of possessing firearms after being convicted of felonies and one case of being in possession of controlled substances. Although sympathetic to Handelman’s situation, DDA Souza said it would be unwise to grant a stay considering his history.

“(We) certainly empathize with the defendant’s current personal situation, however given his history and his essential non-compliance on probation, (we) do have concerns that Mr. Handelman will not remain out of trouble and could potentially pick up another firearm charge, as Mr. Handelman seems to pick up those cases rather frequently,” said DDA Souza.

After reviewing his current and former charges, Reeves admitted that she is not in favor of a Cruz waiver. She argued that it would put the community at risk while also putting Handelman at risk of losing the current deal that his defense attorney was able to negotiate.

In spite of having four felonies presented to the court, Handelman’s defense attorney was able to negotiate a sentence of three years—if Handelman were to violate any condition of his stay, Reeves would be required to impose a more severe sentence.

She empathized with Handelman in regard to his personal situation, but ultimately decided to deny the request for a stay of sentence.

“I understand your desire to be released in order to help family members, but I can’t take the chance that number one: you will continue on the path that you are currently on right now—it’s not law-abiding. And number two: I don’t want to put you at risk for messing up the good disposition that your attorney has worked out for you,” said Judge Reeves.

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About The Author

Hannah is a first-year undergraduate student at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is majoring in English and currently is involved with two campus newspapers. She is anticipating on graduating early and attending law school. She hopes to continue her passion for writing in a law-related career.

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